While the tradition of our family going to the New Jersey Shore is something I can't imagine giving up (though, the thought crosses my mind each year when we're sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic), this summer I've decided to explore the more geographically desirable Coney Island. It's a 20-minute car ride from the Verrazano Bridge and has some fabulous attractions no kid can resist. For me, Coney Island will always represent a magical period in my childhood. There was nothing better than riding the Cyclone- my personal best was a record eight times in a row – while my dad watched with baited breath as I shrieked with delight.
And spending Sundays gazing into the gargantuan tanks at the New York Aquarium was a foray into another dimension, something so different from my concrete city-dwelling experience. I aspired to be the next Jacques Cousteau; and while wading in the shallow ocean waters is the closest I've ever come, the aquarium gave me a greater glimpse into the life forces beneath the salty ocean waves. I'm not saying you need to give up the Jersey Shore, but when you need a break from the insane traffic, check out a place that's a lot closer and offers just as much fun THE NEW YORK AQUARIUM
Kids and adults alike will adore the Aquarium's Sea Cliffs exhibit which replicates the rocky Pacific coast and houses walruses, sea otters, black-footed penguins, fur seals and live sea horses and features underwater windows, where you'll see some fancy “flipperwork.” The 90,000 gallon shark exhibit is another kid-pleaser with a variety of shark species and stingrays. And if that weren't enough to entice you, this summer The Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium opened a new summer exhibit, A-MAZE-ING Water, as part of the celebration of World Oceans Day on June 8, 2012. The event and exhibit will run through September 9.
The program features Water's Extreme Journey, where visitors can travel through a 1,500-square-foot maze, learning about the environmental threats that plague our waterways along their way to an ocean-themed destination. Water's Extreme Journey interactive maze is located under the pavilion tent at the aquarium. Children will be engaged with a range of interactive experiences as they ride a zipline through pollutants, put together water cycle puzzles, spin a wildlife wheel of facts and learn the importance of water.
Educational messaging helps visitors to become caring, informed stewards of our local and global waterways and the wildlife that depends on them. Guests will also learn about the aquarium's New York Seascape, a conservation program designed to restore healthy populations of local marine speciesâ€”many of them threatenedâ€”and to protect New York marine waters.
Water's Extreme Journey exhibit is open daily and also features special hands-on activities that will take place on weekends only and include:
Take Action Mailbox Station – Visitors can act immediately on their concerns based upon what they just experienced in the maze and appeal to local legislators to support clean water initiatives. This area gives them the opportunity to voice their concerns by writing a letter, drawing a picture, or making a collage. Letters and art will be delivered to local government officials.
Giant Community Mosaic -Using imagination, visitors can create more than 600 mosaic tiles that combine to make a large-scale work of art. The Wyland-designed mosaic reinforces the power of community coming together for a common goal.
Model of Local Watershed – A model of a typical watershed will give visitors a chance to see how pollutants turn into run-off that affects drinking water and impacts the health of our oceans.
New York Seascape Interactive- Visitors will explore the New York Bight and discover the remarkable diversity of marine life that lives in local waters (330 species of marine fish, 26 species of sharks and four species of sea turtles) through an interactive game.
Water-themed Art Exhibition: The aquarium's Ocean View Room will be transformed into The Conservation Gallery and feature multi-media artists who will display their works from a variety of mediums. All works of art will celebrate the importance, vitality, and beauty of water.
Address: Surf Avenue at West 8th Street, Brooklyn.
Age appeal: Newborn and up.
Information: 718-265-FISH; www.nyaquarium.com. And get 10% off tickets online!
Our blog is participating in a sponsored ambassador program from the Bronx Zoo/NY Aquarium. As a part of this program we have received paid advertising compensation, a premium family membership and merchandise for placement of digital advertisements and specific postings related to programming.